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Best Graduate Online Psychology Certificate Programs for 2024

Earning an online graduate certificate in psychology helps you better understand the complexities of the human experience, paving the way for a rewarding career helping others.

Author: Ivy Locke

Editor: Staff Editor

Search hundreds of schools for the master’s YOU want……

As discussions around mental health have steadily become less stigmatized, the need for psychologists has continued to rise. In fact, more than 70% of Americans now believe that mental health is as important as physical health. With revenue for the mental health market projected to reach $20.09 billion worldwide in 2023, earning an online graduate certificate in psychology is a great step for students looking to build a rewarding career supporting those in need.

Online psychology certificate programs are also an excellent way to credential yourself further, enhance your existing skills, and become more specialized in your area(s) of interest — whether that’s developmental, organizational, clinical, or another area of psychology. Naturally, you likely have a lot of questions about pursuing a graduate certificate online. Are the degrees reputable? How much does an online certificate program cost? What will I learn? How long will it take? Which schools are the best? And so on.

To help you understand your options and choose the best online graduate program in psychology, consider the following school rankings and certificate information.

Best Online Psychology Graduate Certificate Programs for 2024

Understanding the intricacies of the human mind and behavior can be sometimes be perplexing, and a psychology graduate certificate can provide focused expertise. Whether you’re seeking to deepen your understanding of a specific psychological discipline or exploring a new facet of the field, our 2024 rankings ensures you find an online program that will be impactful for you.

About the ranking
Private not-for-profit

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles offers a psychology certificate for those who have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. The certificate focuses on social and community psychology, with courses exploring how social constructs influence our beliefs around race, ethnicity, religion, class, ableness, and immigration status. To prepare students for work with diverse populations, the program is taught in Spanish. Applicants should have a working knowledge of Spanish before enrolling in this program. Should a student wish to continue their education after obtaining the certificate, courses transfer to the Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles master’s in psychology program.

Program Highlights:

Graduate Certificate in Social and Community Psychology

  • Credits: 9
  • Length: One semester
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: APA

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation WSCUC

Fort Hays State University hosts a graduate-level certificate in psychology designed for case managers. Since case managers are integral in mental health treatment centers, Fort Hays State University created this program to give them a better idea of the psychology behind working with patients in this environment. Course topics reflect this goal and cover abnormal psychology, child and developmental psychology, and case management and psychology. Students also complete an apprenticeship in this program. Depending on a student’s employer, they may be able to complete the apprenticeship at work. Because most students work full-time as case managers, all courses are available online.

Program Highlights:

Case Management Certificate in Psychology

  • Credits: 18
  • Length: Varies
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: HLC

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation HLC
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Private not-for-profit

Those who want to broaden their counseling and psychology expertise should consider the graduate certificate from Regent University. This nine- to 12-credit program explores diagnosis, treatment, and spiritual interventions for abnormal behavior defined by the DSM. Students can also choose between one of four concentrations in trauma counseling, family and marriage counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and school counseling. No matter which option students choose, their coursework will be from the Christian perspective, as Regent University is religiously affiliated. For increased customization, students can choose to complete the certificate fully online or in person, though no hybrid option exists.

Program Highlights:

Certificate of Graduate Studies: Psychology & Counseling

  • Credits: 9-12
  • Length: Varies
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: APA

School Services & Accreditation

Career Services Yes
Academic Counseling Yes
Accreditation SACSCOC

College Spotlights: Graduate Online Psychology Certificate Programs

Finding the best online psychology program for your graduate certificate can be an arduous task, as there is a wide array of institutions to choose from. The following list — which features three top-rated schools for online psychology certificates — was created to help prospective students find programs with the affordability, flexibility, and accreditation necessary to advance their careers. This provides a great starting point for your research of a quality program for you.

Missouri State

Missouri State offers two specialized online graduate psychology certificates: forensic child psychology and statistics and research design. The forensic child psychology track prepares students to work with children in the legal system by teaching them how to protect children’s memories after traumatic events. Meanwhile, the statistics and research design track teaches students how to use data better to improve their research techniques.

Regardless of which certificate you pursue, tuition for internet-based instruction at Missouri State costs $348 per credit hour, with each program requiring 12 credit hours to complete. To enter these programs, applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited program and submit a graduate application. Missouri State also offers scholarships based on grades, leadership and involvement, and financial need.

Liberty University

If you’re looking for a broader psychology graduate certificate, Liberty University (LU) offers an online executive certificate in psychology that helps prepare students for jobs like corporate psychologist, professor, program head, project manager, or researcher. The coursework for this certificate includes graduate- and doctoral-level curricula on advanced research, statistics, and analysis in psychology, emphasizing the real-world application of these principles.

The executive certificate in psychology offers eight-week courses with 21 total credit hours required to graduate. Online graduate certificates through LU cost the same as graduate-level courses — $565 per credit hour for full-time students and $615 per credit hour for part-time students. However, they offer a generous military discount of $300 per credit hour, along with numerous scholarships. The requirements for this program are slightly stricter, requiring a statement of purpose and two references from former teachers on top of the usual application, fees, and college transcripts.

Purdue University

Purdue University offers two online graduate certificate programs in psychology. For students interested in pursuing a career as a drug and alcohol counselor, the Graduate Certificate in Addictions explores chemical and psychological dependency counseling, psychopharmacology, and co-morbid disorders. Meanwhile, Purdue’s Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology teaches students organizational management and behavior, preparing them for a career helping companies ensure the psychological well-being of their leaders, staff, and clients.

The programs take eight to 12 months to complete, with students taking two courses per 10-week term. Purdue’s standard tuition rate is $420 per credit hour, with the addictions certificate requiring 40 credits and the industrial/organizational certificate requiring 30 credits. As an institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, students may transfer credits to other colleges to continue their collegiate careers.

Top Reasons to Earn a Graduate Certificate in Psychology Online

In addition to preparing you for a rewarding career helping others, earning an online graduate certificate in psychology offers numerous benefits compared to on-campus education.

Benefit #1: Flexibility

Unlike attending school in person, online learning enables students to study around their schedules, making it easier to maintain full-time jobs, care for families, and fulfill other obligations simultaneously. Moreover, many programs are self-paced, allowing students to complete them in their own time.

Benefit #2: Affordability

Online learning is also much more affordable than attending school in person because it requires fewer resources. Students who pursue their psychology certificate online do not have to worry about paying extra for transportation, rent, or meals. They are also excused from paying any fees for the amenities of being an on-campus student, like a dining hall pass or internet access.

Benefit #3: Boost Collaboration

While it may seem counter-intuitive, attending school virtually helps boost collaboration — especially for more introverted students. In an online learning environment, students can easily ask questions and receive in-depth answers via chat or email. They also can schedule group study sessions, facilitate group projects, etc., regardless of location, making connecting with students from different backgrounds easier.

What You’ll Learn in Graduate Psychology Certificate Programs Online

The coursework you’ll encounter when pursuing your online psychology certificate will vary based on your area of specialization. For example, a certificate geared toward marriage and family therapy (MFT) will cover different topics than one focused on helping people with substance abuse issues. Regardless of the coursework, however, many classes require an interdisciplinary approach. For example, students pursuing their MFT certificate may learn how substance abuse can cause issues within a marriage. To help you better understand what you’ll learn, below are a few popular courses for online graduate certificate programs in psychology.

Popular Courses

Psychology of Calling and Meaningful Work

This class provides an overview of the theory, research, and practice needed to help students find a meaningful career in psychology. It also introduces the philosophical, historical, methodological, theoretical, and practical applications of academic research in relation to students’ work, career development, and overall prosperity.

Industrial/Organizational Theory and Development

For students who anticipate working with organizations, this course provides an overview of topics associated with the ethical, legal, individual, and sociocultural dimensions of establishments, units, and teams in psychology. Students explore theories and research around surveying and facilitating change in individuals, groups, and organizations to improve the performance and well-being of an establishment and the individuals it employs.

Statistics and Research Design

Many psychology graduate programs need students to know how to properly assess and apply data in their chosen field, which requires a deep understanding of research methods and statistical analysis. This class teaches students how to use the Multivariate Analysis and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) models in the design and analysis of psychological experiments.

Theories and Research in Social Psychology

Just like statistics and research, social psychology is applicable across any specialization involving group dynamics (e.g., organizational psychology or sociology). This course asks students to critically examine current theories and research in social psychology, focusing on theories of attribution, social perception, attitude formation/change, social relationships, prosocial behavior, aggression, and social influence.

Advanced Introduction to Positive Psychology

Positive psychology’s recent popularity makes it a meaningful topic for students to study, regardless of their area of specialization. This course enables students to delve into positive psychology’s empirical and theoretical foundations while learning to properly assess, evaluate, and develop science-based positive psychology applications.

What are Some Specializations in Psychology Certificates I Can Earn?

There are a wide variety of specializations to choose from when pursuing an online graduate certificate in psychology. Your chosen specialty largely depends on your experience, along with your educational and professional goals.


For people looking to practice psychology within learning institutions, Michigan State University offers an online Graduate Certificate in Educational Psychology. This online program gives students a deeper insight into the needs of developing learners by teaching them the following.

  • The psychological processes that underlie learning and the practices that support them.
  • Developmental mechanisms that lead to individual differences.
  • The impact of motivation.


Students who are more interested in clinical application should consider Arizona State University’s online Integrated Behavioral Health Clinical Certificate. This program aims to create better patient outcomes by combining primary and behavioral healthcare into a single approach and covers the following evidence-based approaches.

  • Behavioral healthcare
  • Medical literacy
  • Population-based health

Positive Psychology

The University of Pennsylvania has an Applied Positive Psychology Certificate program that introduces students to the field of positive psychology. The course covers tools and strategies that support personal, organizational, and community well-being and covers the following topics.

  • The theoretical and empirical foundations of human flourishing.
  • How well-being is measured.
  • Activities that help humans flourish in various contexts and settings.

What Can You Do with a Graduate Certificate in Psychology?

According to Encyclopedia.com, earning a graduate certificate in psychology can open the door to many careers; it just depends on what the certificate specializes in, along with local, state, and governmental licensing requirements. Potential jobs for online psychology graduate certificate learners include:

  • Case manager
  • Outreach coordinator
  • Social worker
  • Clinician
  • School counselor
  • Special education teacher

Moreover, earning a psychology graduate certificate online can increase your income. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for people who have earned a psychology degree is around $50,000, and the field is projected to experience a 19% growth over the next decade. This is much higher than the growth of the average sector, making it an excellent field for those seeking a career with abundant opportunities. By earning a specialized certificate, you can position yourself as an expert in your field of interest, potentially allowing you to earn more income than with a standard degree alone.

Accreditation for Graduate Psychology Certificate Programs Online

No matter what kind of program you choose or what school you attend, accreditation is vital. This is because accreditation not only makes it possible for students to transfer to other schools to continue their education, but it also enables them to pursue new specialties and higher-paying careers.

When choosing an online psychology certificate program, look for accreditation from or more of the following institutions:

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Graduate Certificate – Psychology

The cost of earning an online graduate certificate in psychology ranges depending on the school and program you choose. Understanding the different programs available and their projected expenses is important so you can pursue your education without financial burden. Depending on their financial needs, students may qualify for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Moreover, students may apply for scholarships, loans, grants, and work studies programs. Some schools even offer discounts for veterans, which can substantially lower costs. Applicants are strongly encouraged to explore all available resources before paying out-of-pocket.

What Your Psychology Graduate Certificate Online Program Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Missouri State




Liberty University




Purdue University




Frequently Asked Questions About Graduate Online Psychology Certificates

What is the Difference Between a Graduate Certificate in Psychology, a Master’s Degree, and a Doctoral Degree?

When trying to understand the differences between a graduate certificate in psychology, a master’s degree, and a doctoral degree, there are several essential factors to consider. For instance, the average cost varies drastically across these three programs. Generally speaking, certificates are the least expensive of the three, while doctoral degrees cost the most. The time commitment between them also varies; on average, it takes a year to earn an online graduate certificate, two to three years to earn a master’s degree, and five to seven years to earn a doctorate degree. Degree programs may also require some on-campus study, which can narrow your choices while increasing costs.

What Are the Admissions Requirements for Online Psychology Graduate Certificate Programs?

To access your chosen online psychology program, you may need to meet various requirements. These can change depending on the school offering the certificate and the program itself. Below are a few of the more common requirements you may encounter when applying for programs.

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology or another related subject.
  • A GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • A personal letter or essay stating your goals for the certificate.
  • Application fees (these may be waived in certain instances).
  • Official transcripts from all colleges you have attended.
  • Two to three letters of recommendation.

How Long Will It Take to Finish My Psychology Graduate Certificate Online?

The amount of time it takes to finish a psychology graduate certificate online varies depending on your chosen program. Generally speaking, most psychology graduate certificate programs require students to pass four to six graduate-level courses and one to two electives. This typically takes around a year to complete. However, for students who want to go more in-depth or wish to obtain a complete master’s degree in psychology, this will take around two years of full-time studying to complete.

Can I Earn My Graduate Certificate in Psychology 100% Online, or Do I Need to Take Classes on Campus?

When earning an online psychology certificate, many components exist to consider. On the one hand, many prospective clients will be excited to learn that most of the requirements can be completed online. However, this only applies to the coursework itself. To graduate from the program and find gainful employment, students usually must complete an in-person internship or practicum experience, which cannot be completed virtually.